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Minister John Halligan launches Ireland’s National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment

Minister John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills today (10 July) launched Ireland’s National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment. 

Speaking in Dublin Minister Halligan said “Ireland has a world-class reputation for research and development. Key to achieving this is the drive and commitment to excellence and impact of all members of our research community, across all disciplines. I would like to acknowledge the work of the members of the National Open Research Forum who prepared Ireland’s National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment to ensure that Ireland can respond to and prepare for the shift in culture and practice that we are witnessing across Europe and internationally towards an open research environment. The willingness and ability of Ireland’s research community to work together to address common challenges supports the delivery of our national research agenda.” 

The National Framework is a key deliverable of the National Open Research Forum (NORF), which was set up in 2017 to bring together key members of the research community to drive Ireland’s open research agenda as set out in Innovation 2020, Ireland’s research and development, science and technology strategy. 

Patricia Clarke of the Health Research Board and co-chair of the NORF said “The National Framework is a clear statement of intent by the Irish research community to take practical steps to embed open research in Ireland. I am delighted that so many key stakeholders from across the Irish research system have worked together to prepare this Framework, to ensure the research system as a whole moves in a common direction. I would like to encourage all members of the research community to actively engage with the NORF to deliver this Framework to ensure that Ireland stays to the forefront of this European and international cultural shift towards open research.” 

The Framework is aligned with emerging European Union policy and includes principles on: open access to publications; enabling FAIR[1] research data; underpinning infrastructures for access to and preservation of research; development of skills and competencies, and incentives and rewards for open research within research evaluation processes. The framework will open up access to publicly-funded research in Ireland and support research excellence across all disciplines. Open Research will be a requirement of the next EU Framework Programme, Horizon Europe, and Irish researchers and institutions need to be ready. 

Tim Conlon, of the Higher Education Authority and incoming co-chair of the NORF said “Open research has the potential to transform the research landscape, with clear benefits for society, including greater public engagement and trust in research and enhancing research excellence and integrity, across all disciplines. It also calls for a culture change and the NORF is a good example of how key players in the higher education and research system can work together to bring about this change on a national level. The launch of this framework is a significant first step in a process which will see the development of a National Action Plan for the transition to an open research environment.”


Notes to the Editor

National Open Research Forum (NORF)

The NORF was established in 2017 to drive the Irish agenda for open research and deliver on Action 4.7 of Innovation 2020 to ‘support national and European open access policies and principles”. The Forum is co-chaired by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Health Research Board (HRB) with secretariat from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI). It encompasses and broadens the membership of a previous ‘National Open Access committee’ combining the expertise of representatives from policy, research funding, research performing, library sector and other key stakeholders in the research system across Ireland. The NORF reports to the Innovation 2020 Implementation Group, which is chaired by DBEI. Innovation 2020 (I2020) is Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science and technology which was launched in December 2015 and set a vision for Ireland to become a Global Innovation Leader, driving a strong, sustainable economy and better society.

The National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment

The National Framework was prepared by the NORF to respond to EU and international developments in the area of open research and the need for Ireland to provide a coordinated framework for open research for Irish research funders, institutions and the wider research ecosystem. Open Research refers to ongoing changes in the way research is conducted, with a fundamental shift across Europe towards making research more transparent, collaborative, accessible and efficient. This includes a set of initiatives designed to transition from the standard practice of publishing research results in scientific publications accessible on a subscription basis to increasing the free flow of information across national and international research communities and embedding an open research environment at national and international level. It spans open access to publications and data as well as research infrastructure for hosting and diffusing data. Open Research is relevant to all research irrespective of field and purpose. (The term ‘open research’ is synonymous with the term ‘open science’ and is used in the Irish context to clarify that all disciplines are included in the national framework.)


[1] Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.